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tv   [untitled]    November 30, 2013 9:30am-10:01am PST

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ladder at the bottom. counter balance, flip down about 15 feet down to the ground below as their exit. fascinating. the city is filled with huge walls. >> because we're on a very steep hill and everyone wants their lot flat and the one down below wants their lot flat. >> this is part of the edge of the mid-block open spaces, by the way. it's within the mid-block open space. here we have a wall, broadway is (speaker not understood). no dog, but we have a guy on a bicycle. >> and graffiti. >> and graffiti. okay. here's one edge of that wall, okay. and with these gentlemen climbing these stairs, i think our slides are over. that's all for today. thank you all very much and we'll see you next week. [applause]
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>> good afternoon, i'm lawrence kornfield. welcome to our brown bag lunch. the fire department as a lot to do with fire escapes in san francisco. we have tens of thousands of fire escapes in san francisco. it's sort of like utility wires, until you start looking for them. you don't even see them.
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today we're going to look at them and for them and talk a little bit about what they are there for and how they should be maintained. what our standards are. so we are right here in front of building services office at 1660 mission street. we have one of many buildings served by fire escapes. they are typically used when there's a required means of existing or egressfrom the building. this building has a main stairway and all these fire escapes. i don't know about the backside. it probably has more exits that would be typically required to have. >> typically fire escapes are the second.
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the first is for existing buildings. my guess is the building has been broken up. that's why they add more than one fire escape. >> and in fact one of basis of the building code is to get people how the. how do you get people out safely? >> right and the cold always says, if one is blocked there should be another one in 99 percent of buildings >> and there are limitations on how you exit. you can't exit from one tenant space to another if that space is locked. that's why we have extra fire escapes on this building. let's look up at these fire escapes for a second. the fire escapes have a few specific elements. and we'll talk in detail about what they are.
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they include a way out on top fire escape balcony. the fire escape balconies. the ladder from the lowest balcony to the ground and a way to get on to the roof. i think those are the main elements of the fire escape. >> yeah. >> okay. and we're going to look at a bunch of different ones. this is a good example across the street. so first of all, how do you get out on to the fire escape? you can't have to climb out on a little window. we can see there are large, openable window pain doors, >> they did allow them to climb out windows and those are
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grandfathered in. >> as bill mentioned, there's an important part of the codes, they are not retroactive. you had to bring them up to today's standards. it's allowed to be maintained in the original construction. that's one of reasons we have old fire escapes. they are not required to be upgraded. >> if this was built today, a fire escape would not be allowed. they do not meet the second means of egresscode. >> but in all the existing ones like this one, you have to maintain them and keep a second means. according to the codes the building was built under.
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we are allowed to have fire escapes in existing buildings to provide a new exist from a historic building. it specifically allows fire escapes. we are allowed to have fire escapes for new exits. it's under some circumstances >> right. r3. one and 2 family homes. even new ones, which is not under the jurisdiction of the fire department. we will allow new buildings to have fire escapes if they can show reasonable standard for why they cannot put in a conforming stair sway. fire escapes are essentially providing a legal second stairway. it's not quite a second
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stairway. that's 60 to 70 degrees. the fire department does to the agree and the more hazardous. >> if it was built, we allow you to maintain them. >> speaking of maintenance. we will get to maintenance later. we have people that do fire escape maintenance. going back to talking about the elements, we have access to the fire escape and then we have a fire escape balcony, they need a balcony to get access. you don't climb out directly on to a ladder. for one and 2 family dwellings, but there are very few of them. we had an exception under there
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for no balconies. they are almost always required >> jomes are not allowed. they are pole ladders and they open up into a vertical ladder, their product lists doesn't require a balcony. we made a decision that is not even close to provide equivalency to a stairway. how many people. >> yeah, we have a question over here >> what year was this law changes and fire escapes required >> the question was, at who point was the regulations change from allowing fire escapes to second stairs? >> that would be under the fire
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departments jurisdiction. >> it was actually within the last 10 to 15 years. i started 12 or 11 years ago and there was improvement plans with fire escapes. it came from the state. state farm was the one that came out and said, no no ones. >> yeah. so it's pretty recent. i can remember. i'm not that old. >> you're not. you are a young guy. so we have balconies, i handed out to you a whole set of technical standards. we will not go through that unless you have questions. if you are watching this and you want a copy, call us, our number is 558-6025. we have the ladders that
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connect to the next balcony, those are regulated under the local, administrative bulletins and there's retroactive provisions in the state building code about how they have to be. >> the angle and width. i believe that's all covered in the handout. >> typically san francisco fire escapes and we will see, had angles of somewhere between 60 and 72-degree ladders. i can't from this angle tell what that is. the state has made it clean that 60 degrees is what they consider to be the maximum safe angle. most of the existing ones are steeper, up to 72 degrees. and these hand rails and they step down on to a landing and you walk around and go down.
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at the bottom, this is the way to get to the ground. this is great. this has something called a counter balance ladder. it means that as you walk down to the bottom of the fire escape, there's a ladder sticking out horizontally. it will go down because there's a weight. >> it doesn't go all at once. >> so counter balance ladders are what the code currently require. but as we walk around, you will see many of them don't have counter balance ladders, they have drop ladders and accordians and all that. this is an excellent type of ladder. you can see from the end of counter balance ladder, there's a chain. if you follow the chain up. it goes up to a pulley and down
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the other side to a weight. can you see that? the big weight is the counter balance weight and the code prescribes how many force it will take to operate that counter balance. >> is there a maximum height? >> yes. there's a maximum and minimum. >> it's in the handout >> ladder xdto the ground. on page 6, 2.7. a permanent, 50 pounds. 150 pounds 1 quarter of the way will start to swing slowly down. and no fire escapes will be less than 14 feet above the
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sidewalk. when any part falls away, it has to be 14 feet. >> the top ladder too, that's a straight ladder. that's for fire department use. that's not for somebody fleeing a fire. you are supposed to come down. we use these things as a second way to get up. we like this, because we can run up those things. we don't have to go in the building. the stamp pipes are on there. or a wet stand pipe. actually for us, it's a convenience. it's a goose neck ladder over the top. but, once again, that's for fire department use. not for civilians. we can always get a ladder up
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and get them off. i have done that frequently. that's something that happens frequently in the city. >> you don't need a ladder from the roof in it's less than 4 and 12. you need to have a ladder. >> once again, the fire department shouldn't be up there. we are going to walk through this and cross otis street. we will look at sand types and some of the other stuff. >> okay. this is, we are on otis and golf. >> this is serving 50 or more people. this is a really interesting
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fire escape with these curved balconies. and once again, we have the elements that we were discussing. the balconies, access. this accordion ladder. what does the fire department think about the accordian ladders? >> they got dropped out. it's retroactive. they have to bring them up to today's code. i have a story to tell. when i was in the sunset district. you see a crank on the side, you undue a lever and they are supposed to fall down. we did it, 50 to 75 percent of the time it doesn't work. there's, it's on the owner, the owner is supposed to maintain these ladders and we have a person here who does the
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maintenance. do you have anything you want to say? >> an escape artist. >> i believe these are supposed to be checked once a year. >> one of my competitors says they need to be checked twice a year. i have encountered those that don't go down because they haven't been checked >> well, after and brush cleaning, and lubrication, we jump up and down on them. i weigh 170 pounds. they don't go down, like we're stretching them. crank them back up. break them free. after we lubricated them. >> what kind of lubrication? if it's a frozen type.
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we use a penetrable type >> with escape artists, you regularly check them? >> it's all us calling them each year requesting if they would like us to do maintenance service for their drop ladder. each year it's quite simple and easy procedure to do. and we appreciate that people take pride and understand their fire escapes and drop ladders are a part of their building's safety system. just like the sprinkler systems. they are usually located along a fire escape ladder way, platform system. the fire department does use them to approach emergency situations in buildings.
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>> this is interesting on who's checking them. in san francisco for residential units and motels and hotels, the housing inspection division is required to check every 5 years to do an inspection of the buildings. and the procedures have changed to require they operate the fire escape when they do that inspection. have you gone to those where they require to operate the fire escape? >> absolutely. we got the call from a property owner saying they have been sited or requested by a housing inspector. we will inspect the fire escape before maintenance and do maintenance repairs. i feel confident that the fire escapes are safe. ask we will provide a
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certificate. that describes what we found and what we didn't. so far, that has been approved by the fire department >> all exterior balconies of wood have to be certified by an architect or licensed pest control every how many years? 5 years and they are starting to get that under way and they requires certification by someone with those licenses as well. this is a different concept. this is not a residential building. they don't do these 5-year or yearly inspection on this. so, does the fire department come out and check these at all >> probably not. we are supposed to come out for
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assembly permits. we are supposed to come out. actually, you probably walk through and checks the exits . whether they physically do the fire escape. i don't know. >> so assembly occupancies. the fire department has a state mandate to be an annual check. >> we had a question here >> does the fire department have a list of all the different assembly buildings with fire escapes that need to be looked at? >> no. we have a list of all the assembly, whether they know which one has a fire escape. we are obviously trying to discourage that. if you can imagine getting 50
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people out would be tough. i said 10 or 15 years that was residential. for assembly, that's 20 years >> you might want to look at the golden gate theater has these enormous counter balance fire escapes that can handle an occupant load of hundreds of people and really wide and actually very low slope. but we do, we have in san francisco, we have assembly occupants and they check those too. >> the american club up here that has the same. fire escape.
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>> up above cafe nour >> does anybody regulate to see if they are working? >> no. in fact, the housing code for exterior buildings exempt one and 2 family buildings. the building department checks for alteration or repair. it's up to the homeowner to maintain the property. we don't go back and inspect it unless we have gotten a complaint or we see a problem. we will stop and tell them. >> how is the width of the stairs, the fire escape? >> okay. we've got a question. how do we determine the width with of the fire escape stairs >> i think it's 18 inches
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>> ladders shall not be let's than 18 inches >> if someone was applying for a permit. we would like at the occupant load and how many people are going to have to use this, and the building code has a table for calculating. i think we would look at home people would using it. >> every fire escape balcony 18 inches. >> i wanted to talk to the about the stand pipe. >> tell us what we got here. >> this is a dry stamp pipe. typically, the fire engine
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would stop here and hook up here. so on any floor, whichever floor, we can have water. like i say, this is even better than going to the building. our guy does a good job and makes sure the balcony is stable. it's so much nicer to be outside. you yell at the guy. we need more water and pressure. in my eyes, it's a better system. this one here is dry. some of them are wet. >> what's the difference between wet and dry? >> wet would be connected to the water system. typically on a smaller building, they would use this as their riser to be their sprinkler system inside. it's wet.
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it has 60, 65 pounds of pressure. it isn't really enough to fight the fire. but we already have water. we would still need the engine to hook up to get water pressure we needed to that floor. >> how much pressure do they need? >> well we aim at 100 pounds at whatever floor you are at. you lose 5 pounds for floor. it's up 15, you would lose 15 pounds. >> do we usually have a stand fire escape? >> usually. it's probably because they have so many stand pipes. and may be it was one of far ones we didn't see. it's a great thing. on residential, you always see
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it. >> any questions on stand pipe and connections? >> we're going to walk right around the corner to grady alley. >> we will take a little walk here. >> so somebody said that san francisco's fire department response time is really good. i understand that to be the case too. >> we pride ourselves on a 3-minute response. >> we have 42 stations. we do pride ourselves to get there in a hurry and getting to where we have to go. >> part of, there's a trade off. because we have such great response time, we are able to allow some types of construction and extremely high
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density that would not be allowed in building construction >> one of the things in the out lying areas, if you build a new house, single family dwelling, you need a sprinkler, they feel it's going to take, 8, 12 minutes and it's only 2 guys. whereas in san francisco, you get at least 4 right away and probably within 6 minutes, you have 12 people. you have the advantage, we in san francisco have not asked for that amendment. we just go with what the california building code says. >> the new california building code into into

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